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Health & Parenting

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Family Dinners Reduce Teen Drug Use

Survey Shows Teens Who Don’t Eat Dinner With Families Are More Likely to Abuse Drugs

Knowledge Is Power for Parents

Ferrigno says there is no guarantee that any measures that parents take will keep kids drug free, but “knowledge is power and the more you know, the better the odds are that you will raise a healthy kid.”

The new CASA report also says that teens who have fewer than three family dinners per week, compared to peers who sit down with their families five to seven times, are:

  • More than 1.5 times likelier to have friends who drink regularly and use marijuana.
  • 1.5 times likelier to have friends who abuse prescription drugs in order to get high.
  • 1.25 times more likely to have friends who use illegal drugs such as LSD, ecstasy, cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin.

“We have long known that the more often children have dinner with their parents, the less likely they are to smoke, drink, or use drugs,” says CASA founder and chairman Joseph A. Califano Jr., who is a former secretary of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. “In today’s busy and overscheduled world, taking the time to come together for dinner really makes a difference in a child’s life.”

The report’s findings are based on the National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse XV: Teens and Parents. It involved a survey of 1,055 teenagers ages 12-17 and 456 parents.

Dinners and Family Relationships

The report, the Importance of Family Dinners VI, also says that teens who have frequent family dinners are about three times as likely to say they have an “excellent” relationship with their mothers and fathers. The youths who have frequent family dinners are also more than twice as likely to say their parents are good listeners.

It says that parents who are unable to make it to the dinner table can use other occasions to converse with their teens, and such talks should be routine.

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